LOGAN COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – A controversial bull riding event has been postponed in Logan County.
The event was to be closed to the public. Had the event taken place, more than 130 people from across the country would be bound for Oklahoma amidst an ongoing pandemic.
Despite assurances from Lazy E Arena and Professional Bull Riders (PBR) that measures were in place to keep Logan County residents safe, concern spread.
After recently beating breast cancer, Lisa Kroth is immunocompromised, and in fear of her life again.
“When they started talking about [COVID-19], all I thought was, ‘It’ll take me out,” she said. “I didn’t want to leave my kids, my husband.”
Kroth, a special-ed teacher in Guthrie, now spends her days indoors.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there were only four cases of COVID-19 in Logan County.
But when a rumor spread of a PBR style event taking place at Lazy-E Arena this week, so too did fear.
“I thought, ‘Not in my town, not right now,'” said Kroth.
Concerned messages and voicemails flooded our In Your Corner hotline, so we took a look.
But there was no mention of the event on either Lazy-E’s or PBR’s website.
A press release late Tuesday confirmed the event was taking place.
Sean Gleason, CEO of PBR, says this closed to the public, made for TV broadcast was originally intended to take place at the state fair grounds in Colorado.
But with concern those grounds could be used as a medical overflow area, the Lazy E was chosen as a backup.
“We have had conversations with the city, the county, sheriff, EMT, fire, and we’ve also made the state aware in several departments of what our intentions were,” noted Gleason.
PBR’s event was to include a slew of safety measures, including protocols which would keep 130-plus attendees in color coded groups of 10 or less.
Many of the attendees would be housed on Lazy-E property. The rest were to be housed in a pre-paid Guthrie hotel with strict guidelines on where they could go.
“Our people are instructed, you may drive, walk out of your room to your car, drive over here to the Lazy-E Arena, then drive back to your room,” said Gleason. “We did not want any of our people coming into contact with the people of Guthrie, for their safety and for ours.”
But with a change of tone from President Donald Trump on Tuesday, predicting more than 100,000 American deaths, PBR has delayed their event indefinitely.
They say they will stay prepared at Lazy-E, in hopes their event can take place in the near future.
“That changed the tone, that changed everything,”said Gleason. “We want to get back to work as quickly as we can, but we’re only gonna do it in a safe and responsible way.”
We reached out to Governor Kevin Stitt’s office looking for guidance on how a bull riding event can be considered ‘essential business’. We await his comment.